Insomnia is when you can’t fall asleep (“nighttime insomnia”) or you can’t stay asleep (“morning insomnia”). Chronic insomnia is when you have trouble sleeping more than twice a week for more than 3 months.
Insomnia isn’t because of light, noise, stimulants and sedatives, heavy meals, uncomfortable bed, poor routine, discomfort from pain or restless leg syndrome or apnea, or any of the other distractions we blame for our sleeplessness.
It’s when you want to sleep but you can’t because of your own brain chemicals.
The trouble with being awake for too long is fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work or at school. Not getting the sleep you need will produce physical health problems within days.
And the psychological ramifications are worse. You can last up to a week without sleep …but then you’re going to have a complete psychological breakdown.
The prospect of not sleeping might bring you anxiety. Then anxiety and insomnia feed each other, becoming a cycle as you lay awake at night freaking out about how little sleep you’re getting and how tired you’re going to be at your important event tomorrow.
The Health Industry Doesn’t Understand Sleep
Health professionals aren’t trained properly on what sleep is. Sleep isn’t the absence of wakefulness, and wakefulness isn’t the absence of sleep. Sleep isn’t brain “off” and wakefulness brain “on.” But conventional and alternative insomnia treatments focus on trying to turn your brain on and off to “train” it to a normal schedule.
Believing that sleep is the absence of wakefulness, some insomnia medications try to knock you unconscious. Believing wakefulness is the absence of sleep, newer insomnia medications shock you awake during the day.
Sleep is the resolution and restoration phase of your daily activity cycle.
Just as you must actively obtain energy for your body’s survival each day, you must also rest and restore from that activity each day. Biologically, “daytime” begins at 4am and “night” begins at 4pm. Our sleep schedules tend to correspond roughly to this schedule.
But you can develop a different sleep schedule. You can be active for two hours and sleep for one. You can be active for 36 hours and sleep for 18. Whatever your cycle is, you must be active for part of it and sleeping for part of it.
As Dr. Hamer realized when he discovered the five biological laws that govern all symptoms, insomnia is part of your biological response to traumatic stress.
The first phase of this biological response is to become more active. This means waking extra early – before 4am – so you can work at solving your problem. You rise earlier in the morning than everyone else so you can scoop the resources you need.
The second phase of the biological response comes after you’ve resolved your traumatic stress. Now your body needs to time out from activity as much as possible. You sleep all day and become active during the quiet hours at night when there isn’t much happening. This is the cause of nighttime insomnia: not being able to fall asleep at bedtime, lying awake until nearly 4am. By taking care of your physical needs in the night while everyone else is sleeping, you minimize the chance of competition for resources.
The Danger of Insomnia Treatments
A little chemical interference can be helpful when we’re suffering acute stress or when we’re so deep in a healing phase that we can’t crawl out of bed for a shower and some fresh air. But mechanically overriding natural sleep and wakefulness can turn insomnia into a chronic problem. And medications used to fight chronic insomnia are addictive, have unhealthy side effects, and are difficult to come off of.
Is There Any True Cure?
A mechanistic understanding of the natural world dominates our society. But the real solution for insomnia focusses on lifestyle changes, self-discipline, and even cognitive behavioural therapy.
Not to force your body into a normal rhythm: in fact, trying to force yourself to be normal is the cause of insomnia!
The real solution to insomnia is whatever it takes to take control of your time.
Your body and your life exist for you. For your own personal, selfish reasons. Not for the purpose of jamming yourself into the mould of “normal.”
Listen to “Mind Over Insomnia: Stop Counting Sheep and Get the Z’s You Need” to discover how to build a good life with a healthy sleep system.